MAN ABOUT GOLF

Some­times the best presents are the ones you give your­self

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - By David Owen

When non­golfers buy golfers bad golf gifts.

For my Xmas shop­ping I bought: three Cleve­land 588 RTX wedges with an awe­some black-satin nish, in 52, 56 and 60 de­grees (for me); half a dozen pairs of Kent­wool golf socks, which are the most com­fort­able golf socks I’ve ever worn but are so ex­pen­sive that I buy them only as gifts (also for me); a pair of sharp-look­ing Ash­worth Cardi golf shoes with a two-year wa­ter­proof guar­an­tee, on sale at Ama­zon (me again); plus mis­cel­la­neous stock­ing stu ers – mostly odds and ends that ought to come in handy (to me) dur­ing an eight-day trip to Ire­land that 11 of my reg­u­lar golf bud­dies and I are plan­ning for May.

So when friends say they have trou­ble buy­ing presents, I nd it hard to sym­pa­thise. The only peo­ple on my list I’m still stumped by are my wife, our chil­dren, my mother, my par­ents-in-law and so forth – all of whom are hard to shop for be­cause they never seem to need any­thing (and none of them play golf).

Ask­ing them what they want would solve that prob­lem but wouldn’t be in the spirit of the sea­son, in my opin­ion. Be­sides, shouldn’t Xmas stand for some­thing big­ger than the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ma­te­rial goods? I ended up do­ing what I’ve usu­ally done in the past, which is to wait till the last minute, then make a des­per­ate ap­peal to my wife, who al­ways has sur­plus presents stashed away.

For a golfer, re­ceiv­ing is usu­ally a big­ger prob­lem than giv­ing, if the peo­ple who do the giv­ing do not them­selves play golf. Here’s the night­mare sce­nario: Your wife, while hol­i­day shop­ping at the mall, wan­ders into a sports shop or some sim­i­lar store, and is de­lighted to dis­cover that quite a bit of the mer­chan­dise in the golf depart­ment costs way, way less than the mar­riage-threat­en­ing pur­chases you’re al­ways mak­ing in the golf shop at your course.Why, here are a dozen brand-new balls for R100, not R500! And here’s a com­plete set of 13 golf clubs for less than that put­ter you treated your­self to last month! And here are shelves and bins and dis­play racks lled with in­ex­pen­sive items that any avid golfer would surely nd use­ful: stroke-coun­ters, wrist­band tee-hold­ers, tow­els with hu­mor­ous say­ings embroidered on them, plas­tic tees in as­sorted sizes, adorable head­cov­ers, an elec­tric ball-and-club washer that at­taches to the top of a golf bag, and a range nder that doesn’t need bat­ter­ies and costs a twen­ti­eth as much the one you’ve been hint­ing about!

The prob­lem with presents like th­ese, of course, is that, when you re­ceive them, you can’t sim­ply throw them away. You have to feign de­light, then pre­tend to use them – and that means that when you and your pals go to Ire­land in May you can’t leave any of them be­hind. (They’d bet­ter show up in your pho­to­graphs, too.) Even worse are clothes.The rst nice thing my wife ever said to me about golf, af­ter I took it up, in my mid-30s, was that it had im­proved my wardrobe, be­cause it forced me, nally, to grad­u­ate from jeans and tee shirts to khakis and po­los. But that’s as far as her in­volve­ment in my closet has gone, thank good­ness. My (late) friend Frank wasn’t so lucky: His wife bought him an ex­pen­sive golf “out t,” which he then had no choice but to wear, and it looked so ridicu­lous that my men’s group adopted a lo­cal rule, which we printed on our score­card:“No com­peti­tor shall dress in a black-and-white sun suit pur­chased by his wife.”

Gift-giv­ing some­times works bet­ter in fam­i­lies with mul­ti­ple golfers.The grand prize goes to my friend Tony, be­cause one Christ­mas he and his son and one of the son’s un­cles each gave one of the oth­ers a golf trip – to the same re­sort, on the same long week­end—and got away with it, at least as far as Tony’s mother was con­cerned. (She was blown away by the co­in­ci­dence.) I could never pull o any­thing like that, be­cause my son doesn’t play golf and my wife knows that my brother and I agreed, long ago, never to give each other any­thing for any rea­son. But it worked once, and it might work again.

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